As I climbed the 465 mostly stone steps to the top of the Dom Tower in Utrecht, my mind boggled at the thought that these stairs have been climbed and used to watch over Utrecht for over six hundred and thirty years! Despite surviving for three times longer than my home country has been colonised by westerners, as I took each step higher my vertigo kicked in a little more as I wondered how well the 14thcentury construction had faired over the centuries.
The ‘Dom Climb’ commences from the tourist information office just across the street where our guide meets us, unlocks the door and welcomes us into the tower. The tight stone staircase winds up the tower with a few stops along the way to enter the towers various rooms. The most impressive room is the bell room where fourteen massive bells with a massive weight of 32,000kg hang ready to cast sounds down across the medieval city of Utrecht below. Despite not being able to see the ground below, the thought of all that weight being supported by a stack of stones laid hundreds of years ago and a several massive timber beams got my vertigo on edge. In this room particularly I carefully kept to the largest beams to ensure my weight didn’t push the beams past their limit while wondering how they got these heavy bells up here so many centuries ago.
Giant candelabra’s that hang within the tours rooms emphasise the medieval age of the building and take you back to a time where life was much different to what it is today. Standing within the room you almost feel like you have stumbled into an episode of Game of Thrones, although unlike Game of Thrones, and fortunately for us, during our visit no-one was beheaded.
Climbing to the top of the tower and into the open viewing deck 90m above the ground can, on a good day, provide views to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Unfortunately the weather was definitely uncooperative with my visit to Utrecht, with the city shrouded in low cloud and drizzle, but the view from this church tower across this medieval city is still impressive. After a few laps of the damp viewing deck my vertigo subsided and I gained the confidence to let go of the railings and film a short blog video for those who prefer seeing rather than reading about my travels.
A common question that was asked during the tour was how can the Dom Tower claim to be the highest church tower in the Netherlands when it’s not actually connected to a church? The answer to this lies, once again, a few more than a few hundred years ago. The cathedral was never actually finished, with the naïve that connected the choir to the tower partially constructed and then destroyed in a tornado in 1674. The ruin of the naïve remained for 150 years or so before finally being removed leaving the Dom tower isolated from the cathedral that it belongs to.
The isolated stance of the tower is quite impressive and definitely a must see attraction when visiting the beautiful city of Utrecht. At 112m the tower can be seen across the city, and definitely is an iconic focal point that is tastefully maintained so that tourists like me can come and be amazed that something so old can still be standing.
@CarlousMoochous travelled to Utrecht as a guest of Tourism Utrecht. Many thanks go to Tourism Utrecht and our informative guide who shared the history of this beautiful tower.
When: Each tour takes about an hour and is provided in both Dutch and English.
Where: Departs from the Tourist Information Office in Utrecht. Look for the tower – you can’t miss it. Bookings are recommended.
How Much: €9
How Good: 4 / 5 (Definitely worth a visit if in Utrecht)